Judging and Entertaining: A Perennial Debate

September 13, 2023 - September 14, 2023
University of Copenhagen


This event is available both online and in-person


  • Independent Research Fund Denmark


University of Copenhagen
University of Minnesota
University of Pittsburgh (PhD)
Institut Jean Nicod
Guilherme Riscali
University of Lisbon
University of Copenhagen
Cambridge University


University of Copenhagen

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Following Frege, we commonly divide judgment into two elements: a propositional content, and an act of assent. Notationally, we display this division using propositional variables (φ, ψ) and the assertion sign (⊢). This notation allows us to do many things, for instance to display the content shared across an assertion like ⊢φ ("It is raining"), the corresponding question φ? ("Is it raining?") and so on. This method is nearly universal in current philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and philosopy of mind. But is it accurate?  

Well before Frege, Descartes endorsed a similar picture, in which one first entertains a thought in the intellect, and then judges it with an act of will. Spinoza sharply criticized him for chopping up simple acts of judgment in this way. Before that, Peter Abelard endorsed a similar picture, now widely acknowledged to anticipate Frege's. His main rival, Alberic of Paris, launched a barrage of arguments against it. 

Recently, the Fregean picture has likewise come under criticism, especially from Sebastian Rödl and Irad Kimhi. But a full contextualization of this debate, past and present, has yet to be attempted. 

The purpose of this workshop is to get that ball rolling.

If you would like to tune on online, please contact Boaz at [email protected].

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